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Asian demand for larger farmed salmon driving up prices

Little availability of big fish, and large amounts of smaller salmon are causing a strong differential.

Norwegian salmon prices are seeing a recovery heading into next week, especially for larger sizes with low availability of larger fish.

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At the moment, salmon biomass remains low because fish from the previous stocking was harvested in August and volumes harvested from here out out are from the spring 2018 release, exporters said.

According to one exporter, there is little availability of large salmon, but demand remains strong from Asian buyers. Average prices in the north are as follows, according to the executive:

  • 2-3 kg: NOK 35 (€3.50/$3.90) – NOK 37 (€3.70/$4.10) /kg
  • 3-4 kg: NOK 43 (€4.30/$4.80) – NOK 45 (€4.50/$5) /kg
  • 4-5 kg: NOK 46 (€4.60/$5.10) – NOK 48 (€4.80/$5.30) / kg
  • 5-6 kg: NOK 52 (€5.20/$5.80) / kg
  • 6+ kg: NOK 65 (€6.50/$7.20) / kg

According to another exporter, prices are up across the board by around NOK 3 (€0.3/$0.33) per kilo.

“There is little big fish, so in that segment prices are being pushed up,” he said, noting a NOK 12 (€1.20/$1.30) – NOK 13 (€1.30/$1.40) per kilo difference between salmon in the 5 kg to 6kg category and 6+.

“It's good, but at the same time strange that Asians are willing to pay $1.50 more per kilo just for aesthetic reasons. They think big fish are beautiful,” he said.

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Another source is guessing at a spread of NOK 46 (€4.60/$5.10) to NOK 56 (€5.60/$6.20) for fish to be delivered next week. But the cut will be well below NOK 50 (€5/$5.60) since there are still low volumes of big fish in the market.

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Søren Martens, CEO of the Fish Pool Salmon Exchange, said there is a generational shift going on due to the small biomass available, with little access to big fish and high access to small fish.

According to Martens, spot prices haven’t been this low since 2015, but will bounce back.

In September, average prices are forecast to be NOK 53 (€5.30/$5.90) – NOK 54 (€5.40/$6)/ kg. The remaining year, prices are predicted to average NOK 55.50 (€5.60/$6.20) and the whole of 2020 around NOK 60 (€6/$6.70) / kg.

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